Jurgen Klopp has singled out Thiago Alcantara for praise and revealed how the Spaniard has been forced to change his game since joining Liverpool.
Thiago was added to the Reds’ ranks in September in a £25m deal from Bayern Munich.
However, he has only recently begun to embed himself into the team. Indeed, he made two appearances earlier in the campaign before a knee injury struck.
Now, Thiago looks a solid feature of the Liverpool midfield. Should he win selection on Wednesday, it’ll be the sixth straight game he’s started.
However, having changed from a No 6 to a No 8, Klopp has praised the player’s flexibility.
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“Of course, it was far from being perfect,” Klopp said. “The situation with him coming in and being injured pretty early.
“That was all not really good, but not important anymore.
“Then coming in and we had to learn. He had to learn how we play, we had to learn how he’s playing – without changing everything.
“You [don’t] buy Thiago from Bayern and say ‘OK, nice, but from now you do this different, this different and this different’.
“It’s a job, and usually you need time for that, so it settles and the things come together kind of naturally without changing too much, just making it better by using the different skills.
“It was absolutely OK, but then we thought it helps thinking again, ‘what did he do at Bayern?’, ‘which role did he play there?’, yes it was No. 6, but it was more a double six.
“So we decided to adapt his position a little bit – that worked out pretty well, it gives us stability, gives him stability, we can use his football skills which are obviously outstanding. Really good.”
Thiago often turned out for Bayern as a No 6.
However, in Liverpool’s last two games – away wins at Tottenham and West Ham – the player has shown his ability to flourish as a No 8 and as part of a three-man midfield.
Thiago wowed by Liverpool duo
Thiago himself admits two Liverpool stars have stood out since his move to Anfield.
“Fabi is an amazing player as a centre-back and he’s even better as a number six,” Thiago said (via the Liverpool Echo).
“I think with him at the back he gives us the security as a number six, eight or 10 to make the team play a bit more.
“For me our number 10 is Bobby Firmino. He has lots of great characteristics and skills to arrive into the area. But he can also come back and play and turn. He’s like an old number 10.”
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